Leonard Bernstein: Some Other Time

In category: Song of the Day

Published July 30, 2018

From Charles Cermele, Lincoln Center’s Producer of Contemporary Programming
(American Songbook):

The universal appeal of these lyrics and the musical sophistication of this composition attract singers and musicians from many musical genres. The blues-inflected chord changes make it a favorite of jazz musicians, and vocalists are drawn to the emotional truth underlying the clever word play. “Some Other Time” was written for the 1944 musical On the Town by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Three sailors on 24-hour shore leave in New York City meet three women before returning to their ship to leave for war. Omitted from the film version, the song is shared by four characters in the stage musical, knowing they may never see each other again, but hoping to catch up some other time.

It was the late 1980s when I first heard this performance by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. I was a performer in my late 20s and the story of young people faced with their possible final goodbyes rang terribly true to me as I lost friends and lovers to AIDS. I began using “Some Other Time” as the encore for my solo concerts, unsure how long we had to enjoy this beautiful song. In this recording, Bill Evans communicates so much in the very last moments of his performance. Tony Bennett sings the final notes. The piano goes softer and higher up on the scale until it disappears completely in the middle of the melody. And then a final, isolated chord.

Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

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This week our curators of the Song of the Day blog are members of the Artistic Programming staff of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. NYFOS makes its debut in Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival on August 8, 2018 with Lyrics by Shakespearea program exploring the Bard’s influence on music though the centuries.


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    Charles — A lovely post. I remember my shivers the first time I heard you sing “Some Other Time” in the early 1990s. I have a ticket for 8/8, maybe I’ll see you there? Amy Asch

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      One of my favorite songs and the Bill Evans/Tony Bennett recordings are priceless. I always thought there would be no more “embracing” for the people involved giving the song a more extreme melancholy. This song was cut from the film version of “On the Town” it is said because some in the production thought it would slow down the film somewhat. Bad decision.


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